Rob Pettit of Madison, a senior at the University of Mississippi, is on his third study trip to China, immersing himself in the culture and preparing for his future career.
A member of UM’s Croft Institute for International Studies, Pettit is pursuing a double major in international studies and Chinese with a focus on global business and economics. UM is the only institution of higher learning in Mississippi to offer a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a college-level Chinese program.
Pettit is enrolled this semester at Nanjing University in Nanjing, China, under a new exchange program between the two universities, sponsored by the UM Study Abroad Office. His classes are conducted in the Chinese language and include courses in Chinese history and business.
“I’ve spent the past two summers studying Chinese in China, and it has been a very enriching experience that not only has improved my language study and level but also has allowed me to experience a culture that is different from my own,” Pettit said. “I know that this semester has made me more comfortable with what I have learned at Ole Miss, and it has provided a wonderful opportunity to become more adept in using my Chinese in everyday life.”
Pettit plans to return to the Oxford campus in mid-January. He hopes to use what he is learning to also make a difference for other students.
“Experiencing a different culture, even if it is for a short time, allows you to take what you have learned abroad and bring it back to the university,” Pettit said. “Not only does a student broaden his or her horizons by studying abroad, but the university also grows by having its students bring back an eclectic mix of opinions from across the globe. It makes our campus a more multi-faceted and dynamic learning environment for our students.”
Pettit is slated to complete his undergraduate degree in May 2010. Following graduation, he hopes to travel to Shanghai for a three-month internship in conjunction with the 2010 International Expo, using his Chinese language skills to help international visitors at the U.S. Pavilion. He then plans to pursue a joint MBA and juris doctor degree.
A 2006 graduate of Madison Central High School, Pettit is the son of Ron and Tracey Pettit of Madison.
For more information, visit http://www.croft.olemiss.edu/home/, http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/study_abroad/ and https://www.olemiss.edu/depts/modern_languages/Chinese.html.